8 September 2016. Nairobi, Kenya. Press release. Impact investing pioneer Root Capital announced at the African Green Revolution Forum a new partnership with The MasterCard Foundation that will help raise incomes for over 300,000 smallholder farmers in West Africa. The Foundation has committed $5.2 million to Root Capital over five years to support early-stage agricultural businesses that generate transformational impact in rural communities in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Senegal.
“With Root Capital we will help to bring much-needed financing and capacity building to businesses in West Africa that work with farmers otherwise excluded from the formal economy. We see this as a good avenue to help increase incomes and opportunities for 4,000 employees of agricultural businesses, 300,000 smallholder farmers, and over two million farm family members.” Ann Miles, Director of Financial Inclusion and Youth Livelihoods at The MasterCard Foundation.Without access to predictable markets for their crops, small-scale rural farmers are often forced to accept lower prices for their crops and find themselves trapped in a cycle of poverty. While the global credit supply for smallholders has grown in recent years, it is geographically skewed with less than 10 percent of financial flows reaching sub-Saharan Africa.
- Root Capital is a US-based impact investing pioneer that grows rural prosperity in poor, environmentally vulnerable places in Africa, Asia, and Latin America by providing capital, delivering financial training, and strengthening market connections for small and growing agricultural businesses. Since 1999, Root Capital has disbursed over $1 billion in credit to 623 businesses, who in turn positively impact 1.2 million smallholder farmers. Root Capital’s clients produce dozens of different agricultural products, from coffee, cocoa, and cashews, to fresh fruits and vegetables, to wild-harvested products like natural gums and shea butter. For specific client examples, see: rootcapital.org/portfolio
- The MasterCard Foundation works with visionary organizations to provide greater access to education, skills training and financial services for people living in poverty, primarily in Africa. As one of the largest, private foundations, its work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. Based in Toronto, Canada, its independence was established by MasterCard when the Foundation was created in 2006.